Sanjay Nigam

Professor, Pediatrics; Professor, Medicine; Professor, Bioengineering; Professor, Cellular And Molecular Medicine, UC San Diego

Using a variety of wet lab and computational approaches, the lab focuses on three areas: 1) Systems biology of drug targeting to tissues as well as drug, toxin and metabolite elimination pathways; 2) Tissue engineering of the kidney; 3) Multiscale analysis of organ development, recovery from injury, and drug handling pathways.

A major focus of our lab is the biology and clinical importance of multi-specific "drug" transporters. We are particularly interested in the SLC22 family of transporters. Among these are the organic anion transporters (OATs) and organic cation transporters (OCTs) as well as other interesting SLC22 transporters--including a number discovered in the lab. These transporters are involved in the handling of many small molecule drugs, toxins and metabolites in the kidney and other organs (Nigam SK, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 14, 29–44, 2015, see link under Dr. Nigam’s publications).
We employ in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo (knockout) and computational methods. Current studies focus on SLC22 transporter endogenous function, systems pharmacology and developmental biology--with an eye toward understanding drug handling in infants and young children. A particular emphasis is OAT1, a major drug, toxin and metabolite transporter in the kidney and choroid plexus, which was first identified by our group as NKT. Among other functions, OAT1 appears to be a major transporter of uremic toxins that accumulate in chronic kidney disease (CKD).
We also have a longstanding interest in kidney organogenesis and tissue engineering of the kidney.